Bank Account is Way Off...Reconcile or Start Over?

My checking account in YNAB is wayyyyy off from what my actual bank account is showing.  YNAB thinks I'm -$741 in the red for some reason, and my bank account shows that I have over $800.  I know this is in part because I've had a crazy November and have neglected my YNAB account, so my theory is that there are duplicate expenses that I've accidentally approved because I was in a hurry.  So, my question is, is it better to scour through bank statements and each transaction in YNAB to reconcile?  If so, how do I delete transactions that are locked?  Or, is it better to wipe the slate clean and just start over?

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    • Abby
    • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
    • abbydawn
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Whether you fix what is broken or fresh start is really up to you. I think it mostly depends on how many transactions you have to go through and how important your overall averages and past financial history are to you, since those will disappear if you do a fresh start. Personally, since it sounds like it's only been a month and it sounds like your issues are primarily in one account, I'd probably lean towards trying to fix it.

    Maybe consider logging into your bank's website, printing all the transactions from November, unclearing any transactions in YNAB since the last time you reconciled, and going through things line by line. Hopefully it won't be that difficult to find the errors.

    You can delete locked (reconciled) transactions in the same way you delete any transaction -- by selecting the transaction and pressing the delete key on your keyboard, or Edit > Delete. In the future, I definitely wouldn't recommend reconciling transactions that you aren't confident about, since it makes finding mistakes a lot  harder.

      • negrcian
      • negrcian
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Todd  unclearing the whole of November and doing a fresh Reconciliation line by line, would be a whole lot easier with a Running Balance and a given date to reconcile to.


      I had to do this just yesterday in YNAB4 and it was quick to find the $30 transaction that I had accidentally deleted from YNAB.

      Like 3
      • ToddYNAB Team
      • YNAB's CPO | Four Rules since 2009
      • Todd
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      negrcian No doubt that works, it's a good suggestion. For some folks, that whole month re-reconcile feels like too much, so I just wanted to put in my "you have nothing to fear from a fresh start" plug. 😉

      Like 1
  • Hey Niki S. Some good advice there from Ben . I just wanted to add or clarify that with a fresh start, you won't lose your old transactions or data. It won't be in your current budget, but that original/older budget is still accessible.

    I'm actually a huge fan of fresh starts. Sometimes we do them because we had a bad patch and it feels like defeat—but the fresh look at all your money and the opportunity to prioritize on that new, blank slate can be very powerful!

    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Are you using direct import or manually entering transactions? My checking account currently has an uncleared transaction from 2 months ago in it.

  • Hey Niki S. ,
    I'm going to go ahead and mark your question as answered, but please feel free to tag me if you still have any questions! 

  • Hi, all!  So sorry for my tardy reply--was having some tech issues with my computer & phone and my kiddo was sick simultaneously.  But I didn't want you to think all your responses went unnoticed.  I think I'm going to try a fresh start, now that it doesn't sound so scary.  And I'm glad to know I can delete locked transactions too, as I think that could prevent me from letting things get so awry in the future.  Thank you everyone!

  • YNAB web application shows a balance of the selected transactions. To select multiple transactions click on any field except checkbox of the first transaction then find the last transaction and Shift-Click on any field except the checkbox. To add a transaction to the selected range click on the checkbox of the transaction. I used these feature to find lost and extra transactions using the following method. 

    1. Select whole month (week) of transactions if YNAB account.
    2. Compare the selected balance with your bank balance around the last date of the selected range. The date of the transaction may be a bit off between YNAB and the bank.
    3. If numbers are not the same, then select half of the month (week) and follow the step 2.
    4. If numbers are the same, then write to the Memo field in YNAB the selected balance, bank's transaction date, and bank's comment on the transaction. It will help to find the running balance next time if necessary. Also, I put a green flag on the transaction in YNAB. Keep the selected transactions selected.
    5. Add one more month (week) using Shift-Click and follow step #2.

    When I found a range around the messed up transactions, I added the good transactions to the selected range one by one and marked them by the green flag if the transactions are reconciled, or I marked them cleared. I marked bad transaction uncleared or put the red flag.

    Once in a while, I unselect the transactions, applied filter to see only bad transaction and delete them. Make sure that you used the red flag on for bad transactions.

    I think I have found less than 20 bad transactions in the whole year 2017. It took me around 3 hours.

    Of course, if YNAB would have a "Running Balance" field then the whole procedure would take much less time.

    Like 1
    • Andrey C YES YES YES!!!! This is precisely why a  "Running Balance" is necessary. Just LOOK at all this typing and time and explaining. Why can't Reconcile be simple and "just work?"

      And if it doesn't, because of maybe... what? what could possibly happen...? Then there's GOT TO BE a simpler way to clear things up. OH! I know... a "Running Balance!" Duh

      And no, a "fresh start" is a very bad way to put it. I actually like to use an average of MANY MONTHS for a more accurate sample.

      Like 2
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